Post Up: Back At It
The NBA returned with a full slate following the All-Star break.
by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay each dropped 24 points to lead the Raptors to their third straight road victory–the most road games they have won consecutively since 2007. The game was the strangest the NBA has seen all season. Thanks to a non-working scoreboard, officials wheeled in a portable replacement board and kept it in front of the scorer’s table while the two shot clocks were placed on the floor in opposite corners. The worst part: the manual air horn that was used instead of the official horn. The non-working scoreboard had an ill-effect on the game. The Raptors took rushed shots thinking that the shot clock was close to zero when it wasn’t and Toronto’s players had to count down the clock for their teammates on the floor. Despite the setbacks, Rudy Gay’s 3-pointer with 2:24 left in the fourth pushed the lead to 11 and the Raptors pulled off the win. Brad Beal scored 25 for the Wiz.
Kemba Walker scored 24 and dished out 7 assists, Gerald Henderson scored 24 and grabbed 10 boards and Byron Mullens scored 20 and grabbed 12 boards as the Bobcats beat the Magic. Nic Vuceciv led Orlando with 18 points and 11 boards.
Brandon Jennings did all he could to lead the Bucks to a victory, but Joe Johnson wouldn’t allow his team to start the final stretch of the season on a down note. Jennings dropped 23 points in the second half (34 total) but his jumper with 15 seconds left in overtime–a shot that would have given the Bucks the lead–went in and out. Following a foul on the ensuing possession, Johnson caught an inbounds pass at the top of the key, dribbled right, crossed over to his left and nailed a pull up jumper from the free throw line that gave the Nets a 113-111 win. Johnson finished with a team-high 24 points.
Memphis had to shake off the cobwebs following the All-Star break early against Detroit. After a 30-point first quarter from the Pistons, the Grizz buckled down and took care of business the rest of the way. Memphis went on a 23-3 run to close out the first half and entered the break up 11. In the third, the Grizzlies continued to pour it on and outscored Detroit 31-18 and led by 20 until the closing minutes of the game. Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 19 points, Jerryd Bayless had 10 dimes off the bench and Zach Randolph finished with a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double. Brandon Knight scored 13 for the Pistons.
After dropping two in a row prior to the break, the Bulls were in need of a win to get back on track. Luckily, a visit to New Orleans was just what the doctor ordered. The Bulls took the lead for good late in the first quarter but the Hornets didn’t go down without a fight. In the fourth, the home team cut the deficit to one but the Bulls quickly responded with a 6-0 run. The Hornets cut it back to five after Eric Gordon’s (20 points) 3-pointer but Luol Deng (20 points) hit the dagger from the top of the key with 45 seconds to go to give the Bulls the victory. Joakim Noah scored 15 and grabbed 17 boards while frontcourt mate Carlos Boozer went for 17 and 10. Ant Davis scored 15 and grabbed 10 boards.
The last time these two met, regulation wasn’t enough as the game went to multiple overtimes and the Celtics pulled out a tough win. Last night’s contest didn’t provide the same theatrics. Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari each scored 26 points and the Nuggets snapped their three-game losing streak with a win over the C’s. The Celtics tied the game at 84 with 5:37 remaining after an Avery Bradley (17 points) 3-pointer but Gallo responded with a three of his own and Lawson had a putback bucket to put Denver back up five. Jason Terry (7 points) cut the deficit to four following free throws with 1:09 remaining. After Kenneth Faried (16 boards) missed a pair of free throws, the Celtics had a chance to make things interesting. Instead, KG (12 points, 9 boards) missed a jumper and Gallinari grabbed the rebound and hit his free throws after the foul to ice the game. Jeff Green scored 20 off the bench to lead Boston.
The Warriors lost five-straight heading into the break and welcomed their mid-season vacation with open arms. Recharged, they surely felt confident heading into last night’s game against the Jazz, but, they dropped their sixth-straight and are now heading into dangerous territory with the Suns and Spurs coming up this week. Seven Jazz players scored in double figures and Utah’s bench came through with 47 points. The Warriors cut the deficit to six early in the fourth quarter but didn’t get any closer as the Jazz closed the game out on a 22-14 run to send Golden State back to the drawing board. Al Jefferson scored 24 points, Gordon Hayward scored 17 off the bench and Paul Millsap finished with 14 and 9 boards. Steph Curry led the Warriors with 29 points.
The Spurs kept it moving despite Sacramento’s best efforts to knock off the League’s best team (record-wise, anyway). The Kings were within four early in the fourth quarter but the Spurs went on a 7-0 run and Sacramento couldn’t buy a bucket allowing San Antonio to pull away. Tony Parker scored 0 points and dished out 11 assists and Danny Green finished with 21 points on 8-11 shooting (5-8 from three). Isaiah Thomas scored 22 and Reke Evans scored 20 to lead Sacramento.
The Suns led wire-to-wire and were up by as many as 19 as Portland gets off to a bad start down the stretch. The Blazers got out of the gate slow, falling behind 12-0, and never recovered as they played catch up the rest of the way. Goran Dragic was giving the Blazers fits and finished with 16 points and a career-high 18 dimes. He also hit a pair of clutch free throws with 13.5 seconds left to put the game away for good. Luis Scola scored 18, Wes Johnson scored 14 and Jermaine O’Neal grabbed 13 boards for PHX. Dame Lillard scored 24 and handed out 7 assists, J.J. Hickson scored 25 and grabbed 16 boards and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 23 but Portland got nothing from there bench once again.